Aaron was referred to CYCA by his Paediatrician as his adopted foster parents were struggling to manage his behaviour. Aaron was diagnosed with ADHD, sensory problems and some autistic features.
Aaron takes medication but mum claimed that it was not working well and not helping to manage his challenging behaviour. Aaron comes from a difficult background with biological parents having had learning difficulties, ADHD and drugs and alcohol abuse. Mum was not having any other support before we started our work.
When I first met Aaron he was jumping around the living room and throwing himself from one sofa to another. He was demanding and was being controlling towards his mother. When she was trying to speak to us he would order her to go and fetch him his toys. Mum told us that he had anger outbursts in and out of school and would sabotage any ‘closeness’ or ‘friendship’ that may start to arise. He did not understand new relationships and lacked the skills of building safe relationships. His teacher told me that he would spit and hit out at staff in the school and had bitten other children.
I began working with Aaron in the school and the data I collected established that he had a negative self view of himself. Additionally, he believed that he was ‘not kind’, ‘not caring’ and ‘not friendly’. Furthermore, he did not like school and mum had major issues getting him ready in the mornings. Aaron would count down the days until the weekend came around so he could stay at home with his mum. As time went on and our relationship progressed, I felt Aaron was ready to spend time with me away from the school. I had planned to do our sessions in play areas and parks and during the summer holidays. This was a whole new experience to Aaron and finding things that he enjoyed and felt good to him was essential. I continued to help him identify different emotions and respond to them appropriately to express his needs. Lastly, I provided lots of opportunities to listen, talk and have lots fun with him through play.
When it was time for Aaron to return to school after the summer holidays, his teacher was astonished at how well behaved he was. He was mixing and playing with other children and his behaviour was remarkable. He was not aggressive nor challenging in any way and was working and listening well in the classroom. I did a final ‘rainbow review’ at the end and the results were outstanding compared to the first time we did it. Aaron smiled as he told me that that he was indeed ‘friendly’, ‘kind’ and ‘nice’. His self identity had improved dramatically, he liked himself.
Aaron needed to hear lots of reassurance and needed to feel comforted and safe along with having consistency and repetition. Working with Aaron and helping him to accept trust, and secure relationships has helped him to become a much happier little boy.
Emma, Mentor, Families in Crisis project